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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Depot's caboose gets facelift

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dan James of Sikeston works to remove pieces from the caboose that sits on the corner of the Sikeston Depot's lot.
SIKESTON -- After he moved from the bright lights of Las Vegas to Sikeston, Dan Jones said he has grown an appreciation for the small town's history.

That's why he's volunteered for the past two years at the Sikeston Depot, as a handyman, in addition to setting up for exhibits.

"I do as much as I can," he said. "I'm interested in helping out and I'm interested in Sikeston."

Those interests led to him beginning to restore the red caboose at the Depot two weeks ago. The rotting red siding and dilapidated cupola are in need of repair, and the inside of the caboose, which dates back to 1953, need renovation.

"It started to deteriorate a bit," said Betty Johns, president of the Depot's board of directors.

Jones was originally approached by former director Delilah Tayloe last year to do the repairs as part of a grant, which wasn't awarded.

"So I volunteered to do it," he said. "I'd like to see it looking nice and looking pretty for the people downtown and the people coming to see it."

The caboose was given to the Depot by the Lowe family soon after it opened in 2000. "We just incorporated it into our whole idea of the restoration of our property," said Janice Matthews, a board member. "It kind of enhanced the site."

Jones called the caboose "a real special thing." He said work should take a few more weeks, and invites anyone interested to help out in the mornings. "It would be too hot to do anything in the afternoons," he said.

Part of the renovations include a new paint job. "It might be a tad different. We're trying to get it to the original color." Johns said "(When removing a board) we saw some paint that kind of looked like it could have been the original paint."

So far, Jones hasn't run into any big issues, and he's hoping it will stay that way. "I don't know what I'm going to find underneath it," he said.

Eventually, Jones and Depot officials want to refurbish the inside, too. "You won't be able to go in, but you will be able to look into the window and see what it was like in the era that it was used," Matthews said.

Other plans are made to complement the caboose and the entire Depot, thanks to a Missouri Department of Transportation grant. Railing and landscaping will be installed around the caboose, and lights will illuminate it, Johns said.

Jones' efforts are "immeasurable," Matthews said. "He is a person that has volunteered his time and talent because he really believes in it. He's proud to be associated with it," she said. "We just can't thank him enough."

But the finished product will be reward enough for Jones. "It's something that will always be here and I can stand back and say I helped a little bit at getting this place looking nice," he said. "Anytime you do something like that you feel good about it."